Melissa Etheridge, Trey Songz and songwriter Valerie Simpson were among the musicians honoured at a special gala in New York City on Thursday night (27Jun13). The trio was applauded at the New York Chapter Recording Academy Honors, staged to celebrate the East Coast's dedication to the arts, and other honourees included violinist Joshua Bell and the lyricists/composers behind hit stage show Les Miserables, Alain Boublil, Herbert Kretzmer and Claude-Michel Schonberg. Songz, Simpson, Michael Bolton and Ne-Yo were among the performers at the event, while British actress Samantha Barks, who played Eponine in the 2012 movie adaptation of Les Miserables, performed a song from the musical. Speaking at the ceremony, Boublil jokingly thanked Scottish singer Susan Boyle for releasing the production's stand-out track I Dreamed A Dream after performing the song on U.K. reality TV show Britain's Got Talent. He says, "I would like to thank Susan Boyle for giving us a Billboard No. 1 hit without knowing what she was doing." Pianist Peter Cincotti honoured late producer Phil Ramone by talking about his memories of the famed hitmaker and performing an original composition, Rocket 88, as a dedication to the star, who died in March (13). He revealed, "I met him when I was 17 and I saw him up until a month before he passed away. We were quite close. He was a rare breed. It was an honour to know him." Simpson, who formed songwriting/production team Ashford & Simpson with her late husband Nickolas Ashford, was thrilled to be honoured at the event and performed a medley of the duo's biggest hits, including I'm Every Woman and Aint No Mountain High Enough. She told The Hollywood Reporter, "It says to me that the body of work that Nick Ashford and I have created is a living legacy that will go on and on and on and it makes my heart feel good."